Women and Stigmatic proverbial Sayings
Proverb and sayings are importance ones for one culture and society. The proverbs and sayings become their belief and practice for their daily life. Chin community also have wise proverbs and sayings but most of the sayings reflect the status of women in home and society. Here we will discuss some proverbs and sayings that degraded the life of women in Chin society.
The sun never rises with a hen’s crow (Aknu khuan tawh nisuak lo)
The sun never rises or the day never breaks down when a hen cackles, it only rises when the rooster crows. This saying indicates that even if women are speaking, it is meaningless. There is nothing to do with women words or advice. Khin Swe Oo points out that this saying reflects the attitude of Chin men towards Chin women that do not want to receive women’s leadership willingly. Therefore, Chin people never encourage women to take a high position or leading role at home and in society.
A woman’s words and beating a female Mithun horn never lead the people to dance ( Numei Thu le sialpi ki tum in ki laam ngei lo)
The chin people celebrated their festival of social, religious or even funeral ceremonies with Zu, or rice beer, and a grand feast, with singing and dancing and beating the drum. They use male Mithun’s horn as their drum and it is strictly forbidden to use female horn because they believe a female Mithun’s horn means nothing to dance. It is implied in a woman’s word or voice is nothing, it is unworthy to take seriously in all dimensions of family and the society.
Therefore, in all aspects of life women do not have right to speak, right to give advice to their father, husband, and son. Sometimes, women have good ideas to solve problems because of the sayings or patriarchal rule they cannot voice out their thought and idea.
A woman’s home is like the home of a jungle deer (Numei Khua le Sakhi Khua)
The jungle deer has no stable place or home. The deer move every year one place to another place. Likewise, Chin women are “just a guest in her parents’ house.” When she got married she should enter into another clansman house. A married woman has no right to keep her father’s family name as she belongs to her husband’s family. Therefore, women are usually called ‘clan lost people’ because a woman owns nothing, even their own family name. she is a property of her husband.
A wife and a gong is for beating (Numei le Zam ka tum ding)
This saying indicates that a husband has full authority to his wife. He has a right to beat her, and he can have domestic violent legally because of this sayings. According to Khin Swe Oo, the reason behind this is because of the marriage pride. A man should give a very high marriage pride to the wife’s parents, so he can now treat and beat his wife as he like. Therefore, Chin women suffer cruel or inhumane treatment and abuse at the hands of their men and they are often treated as slaves.
One of the outsiders Stevenson noted that “the wife has a right to speak her mind in the family council, the right to equality in status in the Feasts of Merit, and the right to joint participation with her husband in their household sacrifices.” Even though he noted with this statement, in reality, women do not get equal opportunity with men in all dimensions of their social, religious and political sphere while girls are trained only for the private world of her home and family.
In this chapter, we have studied that how Chin Women are regarded by the culture and their male counterparts in the olden day of Chin Society. We have also learned that the role of women in the house, in society and religious affairs. We have come to know that women are degraded people in Chin society and they are the most struggles among the strugglers. They have no value and right to claim as fully human being, they are just one of the properties of their males. It is not because they are not valuable, but because of their cultural understanding which they are practicing.
In the next chapter, we will discuss after the Christianity came into the Chin land in 1899 especially the Baptist missionary, how the status of women and their value are promoted in the Christianity. Biak Tha Hnem, a Chin feminist theologian from Chin Theological College, Falam, Chin State comments, “Christian culture becomes a new culture for Chin people. On the other hand, the new culture promotes women’s status in various ways. The gospel changes Chin’s oppressive tradition on women. Christian teaching uplifts the status of women.” It is true that the coming of Christianity into Chin land uplifts and promotes the life of Chin women in some parts but not at all. In the coming chapter, we will study more detail on it.
Women and Stigmatic proverbial Sayings